Opera

Opera ★★★½

Mara Cecova is a very successful Opera singer with a huge ego. While rehearsing for her evening showing of MacBeth she gets into an argument and storms out only to get hit by a car and break her leg. Betty is her understudy and this is her big break. After an amazing performance Betty spends the night at her boyfriends house. A masked killer enters the room, ties her up, and sticks a piece of tape with needles under her eyes. They stab her if she blinks, thereby forcing her to watch his murder. This killer is a sadist who entraps and forces her to watch his killing only to free her to live another day and it's not the last time he'll terrorize her with this form of depravity.

In most of Argento's Giallos he weaves a tale in which the killer is someone you'd never expect and this film is no exception. On the way to that conclusion the plot does a fantastic job of building up characters who 'may' be the killer, but in the end there's a fat chance your guess was wrong. Mine was and usually is. The animal trainers also deserve some credit. Select scenes in the film utilize very well trained ravens and when you combined them with Dario's eye for brilliant camerawork it adds up to something awesome. Even if the raven's behavior can be a bit....unrealistic.

Throughout my Argento reviews I have evolved from hating the music he uses to growing fond of it sometimes. I find Opera to be one of the most repulsive genres of music to listen to so I figured this would be a chore but then someone is killed to Argento's famous out of place choice of song, this time being Power Metal and it rocked. When you kill someone to an Iron Maiden ripoff song it just works. Plus, the sound balancing was done well and the choice of sound outside of the power metal was also damn good. The songs didn't drown out the dialogue as is the case in some of his other films and that makes a huge difference. The ridiculous dubbing leaves a lot to be desired but once you've seen enough of these films it's barely noticeable and almost becomes endearing.

I watched my first Dario Argento film a few years ago with Suspiria. I didn't like it too much and didn't get the hype but I knew I had to be missing something. Once I started reviewing film I decided to take a journey down a road of Argento reviews that would eventually lead back to a rewatch and review of Suspiria with a finer taste for the director and his work. I have a few films left to go but I'm becoming a bigger fan with each one. Opera wouldn't be my first recommendation for an introduction to Argento but it wouldn't be a terrible suggestion either. Definitely worth a watch or two.

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